Advanced AI is moving from the lab into the mainstream – offering a glimpse of the dangers ahead. Plus, What3Words loses its direction
Programming a computer is, if you squint, a bit like magic. You have to learn the words to the spell to convince a carefully crafted lump of sand to do what you want. If you understand the rules deeply enough, you can chain together the spells to force the sand to do ever more complicated tasks. If your spell is long and well-crafted enough, you can even give the sand the illusion of sentience.
That illusion of sentience is nowhere more strong than in the world of machine learning, where text generation engines like GPT-3 and LaMDA are able to hold convincing conversations, answer detailed questions, and perform moderately complex tasks based on just a written request.